Vintage Travels with Max-Torque Jim: The Fenwick Brothers Vintage Kart Collection

Columns: Legendary kart
On the return from Jacksonville to Chicago a call was made by Max-Torque Jim to request a viewing of the collection of karts assembled by the Fenwick brothers, Roy, Merv and Ralph. (Text and Photos:Frank Weir)

The brotherswho are beef farmers are located at Floyds Knobs, Indiana where their karts are housed in 2 large insulated barns. Having a liking for rear engine American racing karts the brothers have numerous SAE, Fox, Margay and Rupp Dart frames. One particular Fox was powered by a West Bend 820 with 5 carburettors! A pristine 1961 Super K Dart powered by dual Power Products AH82’s taking pride of place in the middle of the floor featured front and rear chromed bumpers; the rear bumper was especially needed to protect the spark plugs on the Power products motors. 

The brothers also have 2 very special SAE frames made from round tubing. SAE’s were usually constructed from square tubing; apparently one steel delivery to the SAE factory was sent in mistake and instead of square tubing round was delivered. Jerry Solt the SAE manufacturer decided not to waste time waiting on the square tube delivery and set about constructing a couple of SAE’s using the round tubing. It was interesting to see that many of the SAE frames were custom fabricated, i.e. not all the chassis dimensions were the same with variations in the wheelbase being as much as 2 inches. The Fenwick’s have 20 SAE karts in their collection!

Many spare parts such as mufflers, wheels, fuel tanks, upholstery, steering wheels and engine mounts were neatly stored on steel shelving in the climate controlled barn. Above the shelving there were 31 cardboard boxes all containing McCulloch engines. The Fenwick’s also favoured Power Products motors as well as the West Bend motors that were popular back in the day such as the 580, 700 and 820’s.

The second barn owned by Ralph at the Fenwick ranch housed almost all the varieties of the Fox kart that were made from 1961 onwards and featured the Go Boy model, the Mak Kart model, the swing mount models and a box mount model from 1964. Many of the Fox karts over time had their satellite seats recovered by a local upholsterer who did an excellent job making the seats look as good as new; sadly the old gentleman had passed. There were also another two SAE machines as well as a 1961 Dart A-Bone and a Margay bare frame in Ralph’s store.

It was interesting whilst chatting to Roy’s wife Carol to discover that she had been a dealer for the Californian made Bonanza kart during the sixties. To date a Bonanza has not been added to the Fenwick collection.
Two days after leaving Jacksonville we were back in Chicago and sleeping in beds that did not need checking for bugs. The next day it was off again on the road travelling this time to Wisconsin to visit with Don Thompson, a long time supporter of vintage karting.  

The Bud Hanna Classic Car and Karts Collection

 

Created by: cggiuliano - 12/03/24

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